Monday, July 5, 2010
By Tamara L. Waters
Birthdays are special days the world over and when it comes to the birthday of a pet, celebration is in order. Sure, your pet won't know the reason you're having a party, but rest assured, they will enjoy the attention and your family can enjoy your favorite critter's special day.
Determine the Birth Date
If you are not certain of your pet's birth date, make your best guess. One Christmas my husband brought home a puppy for me. A co-worker's dog had puppies and he needed to find homes for them. Mama's owner couldn't remember the exact date the puppies were born but knew they had been born sometime around Halloween, so we chose Halloween for the puppy's official birth date. Be sure to mark your pet's official birth date on your calendar.
Get the Kids Involved
If you have children, get them on board with planning the birthday celebration. Kids and pets are like peanut butter and jelly – throw in a birthday party and you've got a gourmet sandwich! The kids will add that creative spark, and they will love taking part in planning and putting the party together.
What Type of Party Will You Have?
Your pet is not going to care as much about a birthday party as you will, but you should still plan the party with their interests and needs in mind. If there are other animals that your pet gets along with and enjoys playing with, plan a pet-and-owner birthday party. Just remember that many pets do not like unfamiliar animals, especially on their turf.
If inviting other pets to the party won't work, then invite kids (but only if your pet likes and behaves well around kids). If you don't have children of your own, invite kids from the neighborhood, nieces and nephews or the children of friends.
Decorations for Your Pet Birthday Party
What is a party without decorations? Create a festive atmosphere to celebrate your pet's special day. Choose decorations that are safe and nontoxic for animals and children. Do not use any decorations or items that are small and pose a choking hazard or could be harmful if swallowed accidentally.
A good choice for birthday party decorations would be pet products. Decorate with pet toys, leashes, collars and other items that can be used by your pet. Check at your local party store for paper plates, cups, napkins and tablecloths that feature animals to go along with the theme of the party. A length of pet-themed fabric can also be used as a tablecloth. Remember that the decorations are more for the party guests than the guest of honor and will set the tone for the festivities.
Instead of regular plates or bowls for food, use pet food dishes. Be sure they are clean before you use them. To cut down on expenses, use a combination of pet food dishes and disposable plates or bowls. Use the pet food dishes for serving rather than have guests eat out of them.
Food for Your Pet Birthday Party
Your pet's favorite treats and pet food should definitely be on the menu for your party, but remember the human guests too. Cupcakes for the humans , or cookies shaped like dog bones, fish, carrots or some other favorite pet treat are great choices.
Get creative with the human-friendly dishes. Make Kitty Litter Cake or Puppy Chow (it may look like dog food but it’s a sweet snack for people), or perhaps a snack called Bird Poop.
Remember to keep the pet snacks away from the people, and the people snacks away from the pets. Many people foods are toxic to pets; you can see a complete list of foods you should never feed your pet here.
Gifts and Games
Birthday parties usually have gifts and games. Your pet's party should include a few fun games for the guests to enjoy, especially if your pet can get in on the game. For a dog, an exciting game of fetch with a tennis ball would be a great choice. Some chase games with yarn or a laser light would provide plenty of fun and entertainment for a cat.
For gifts, pets always enjoy new toys or special treats. A new collar or leash, a new pet bed or food dish, or some other type of fun gift would be good choices.
Make your pet's special day fun, and although they probably won't be marking the calendar for the next birthday, everyone will enjoy the festivities while wishing them “Happy Birthday!”